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Sync your Facebook Events (and Friends Birthdays) to your Lotus Notes 8.5 Client Calendar
11/20/2009 12:08 AM by Chris Toohey
I'm certain that it'll come as no shock to you that I'm a fan of Facebook. I use it to reach out to friends, communicate across various communities that I participate in, and really like the evolution of features that the platform delivers release after release. No, I don't do Mafia Wars, Vampire Wars, or Farm Town. I connect with fellow yellowbleeders, often successfully doing so beyond the yellow bubble, and have often communicated information that several individuals have said they would not have known had they not first heard it from my numerous Note and Link posts. I'm connected to the Lotus Knows, Lotus Technical Information and Education, and various other IBM Lotus-themed Fan pages, which are amazing resources themselves.
From these Fan pages, I get event invitations to things like Lotusphere 2010. Y'know, small local outings and stuff.
The problem with this is... I keep my calendar in Lotus Notes, not on Facebook. I can respond to any number of Events that I like, but quite frankly it's going to slip my mind if it's not in Lotus Notes, on my Blackberry, and available to me in the context of my day-to-day work.
The good news is that the Lotus Notes 8.5 Client (and specifically the 8.5 Mail Template) allows you to import iCalendar Feeds into your Lotus Notes Calendar. The great news is that there's a Facebook application that will take your Events (and even your Friends birthdays) and create an iCalendar Feed for you -- allowing you to take your Events to GMail, Microsoft Outlook, RSS Feed Readers, and even (you guessed it) Lotus Notes!
fbCal, Facebook's missing Calendar feature, is a slick little Facebook application that delivers the goods. After allowing it access to my Events and configuring which ones I want to see, fbCal went to work. The result was a custom iCalendar Feed that I could easily plug into the iCalendar Feed-friendly Calendaring app. Lucky for me, Lotus Notes 8.5 was up to the task and within a few mouse clicks, I had all of my upcoming Facebook Events neatly entered into my Lotus Notes Calendar.
How easily, you ask?
Your first step would be to go to http://www.fbcal.com/ and complete their step-by-step directions. The site explains:
In order to get your calendars, you must first log into Facebook and give permission to fbCal to access information. You'll have 2 steps that you have to confirm in facebook:
- Allow Access
- Allow offline Access
A few clicks here, and you're presented with their iCalendar Feed configuration form:
Once you complete the form -- setting your time zone, what information that you're pulling into your Lotus Notes Calendar, etc. -- right-click on the iCal option from the fbCal form and copy the link address (as illustrated above). This will be a webcal:// URL to your specific Facebook Events iCalendar Feed.
Now, from the Lotus Notes 8.5 Client, open your Lotus Calendar and select Add a Calendar... from the left-hand navigator:
When prompted with the Add a Calendar dialog, select iCalendar Feed from the Add drop-down menu and enter the webcal:// URL for your fbCal iCalendar Feed.
Color-code the calendar entries to your preference, and a simple OK finishes the job!
The result: your Facebook Events will now show as Calendar Entries in your Lotus Notes Calendar!
And it works great! You can easily toggle the entries from your Lotus Notes Calendar allowing you to declutter as needed. Need to make changes to your settings or remove the imported Facebook iCalendar Feed from your Lotus Notes Calendar? You'll now see your Facebook Events under the Show Calendars section of your Lotus Notes Calendar navigator:
I'd like to give a huge thank you to John Smart of GreyDuck Technology who originally posted a link to fbCal on -- you guessed it -- Facebook, and really was the one that came up with the idea of using this to generate an iCalendar Feed that could be imported into the Lotus Notes 8.5 Client. His original post can be found here.